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Defined STEM

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Sep 1, 2016
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Company: Defined Learning, 900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 100, Northbrook, IL 60062; 888-759-5020, definedstem.com

Price: Annual building subscriptions to Defined STEM are $2,950 for elementary/middle schools or $3,500 for high schools. Contact the company for a proposal or information on multiple-year discounts in your specific situation. An on-site, face-to-face STEM Workshop is available at $2,500/day for professional development. An excellent free trial is also available.

Audience: Defined STEM was developed for K–12 education in math, science, ELA, and social studies and is especially useful in middle/high schools

Format: Defined STEM is an internet-based, digital resource that promotes authentic learning through a deeper understanding of concepts and problem-solving skills using performance tasks and project-based learning.

System Requirements: Defined STEM can be used with phones, tablets, IOS (iPad), other mobile devices, and computers equipped with Firefox (7+), Chrome (14+), Safari (5+), or Internet Explorer (IE9+) browsers. An internet connection and a PDF viewer are required.

Description: Defined STEM helps teachers give engaging, relevant lessons that are cross-curricular and focus on 21st-century skills, differentiate learning, and incorporate nonfiction reading and writing. Defined STEM also provides an authentic assessment of student understanding.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Defined STEM works through performance tasks, literacy tasks, constructed responses, videos, connections, and additional resources that help to reinforce cross-curricular topics.

 

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support: A

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Getting started is a matter of being sure adequate technology is available for teachers and students, setting up a subscription, and getting students started with Defined STEM resources appropriate for individual grade and instructional goals. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Defined STEM is an excellent resource for use in classrooms to promote blended learning by combining face-to-face instruction and technology and/or digital online learning. Flipped learning is also promoted with resources that can be used through the internet at school or home.

Defined STEM performance and literacy tasks use videos, articles, and other resources accessed through the login website, some of which can be downloaded. Resources highlight jobs in a wide variety of industries and set the stage for each lesson by showing the practical application of educational concepts to each of the careers highlighted in specific lessons..

Problem-based learning (PBL), central to the Defined STEM process, is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about subjects through the experience of solving open-ended problems. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge, advancing the 21st-century 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

Tasks encourage students to apply their knowledge to real-world, unpredictable situations. Defined STEM enables teachers to use project-based learning, valuable career experiences, often in video form, and meaningful reading and writing activities to help students apply what they have learned.

Teachers can customize each task to create individualized learning environments suiting the individual needs of various users, including the flexibility for students to work in class or at home. Custom content can be uploaded and attached.

Students do not submit any work on or through Defined STEM for grading or evaluation, but customizable rubrics are available to help grade student work. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Using the actual resources will require a bit of time and exploration, but it’s easy with lots of online and phone help available. Additional training is available from Defined STEM as needed. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Defined STEM has free trials to explore use before beginning a subscription, and school districts can purchase face-to-face professional development. In addition, extensive online and phone support are available. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: DefineSTEM resources are an excellent instructional supplement, especially for middle and high schools in blended and flipped learning situations. Highly Recommended

Reviewer: Charles Doe is a 39-year teacher, including 10 as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools, Hastings, Mich. For the last 20 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools. His email address is charliegd@sbcglobal.net.

 


 
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